The 2023 Wasafiri Essay Prize

The 2023 Wasafiri Essay Prize is open for submissions until 31 May 2023. 

The Wasafiri Essay Prize aims to discover, encourage, and award innovative critical essays of an exemplary standard, which constitute the most exciting academic work happening today across the field of international contemporary literature (literature published since 1965 from anywhere in the world). Early career researchers, including PhD students, from around the world are invited to submit unpublished works by 31 May 2023, 5pm BST. 

The Wasafiri Essay Prize will reward field-leading scholarship, both in content and in attention to style and form. The judges are particularly interested in writing that is daring, accessible, and engaging without sacrificing nuance or rigour. 

The winner will be awarded:  

  • Publication in Wasafiri, in print and online  
  • £250 cash prize  
  • A mentoring conversation with an academic on our world-class editorial board in a relevant field of study  
  • An annual print and digital subscription to Wasafiri 

Wasafiri is a peer-reviewed journal of international contemporary literature, published by Routledge and listed in Clarivate Analytics’ Arts & Humanities Citation Index. All published articles have passed mutually anonymous peer review by two reviewers. The magazine has an exceptionally global readership, and has been publishing boundary-pushing, genuinely innovative academic writing for over 35 years.  


Submit via the Wasafiri submission portal and select the option for your work to be submitted to the Wasafiri Essay Prize. By selecting this option, you are confirming your eligibility for the prize – you must read the full terms and conditions below before submitting.   

We very much look forward to reading your work.  

Terms and Conditions  

The essay  

  • 1. The essay must be between 6,000 and 9,000 words long, including citations but excluding works-cited list.  
  • 2. The essay must be written primarily in English.  
  • 3. The essay must be on a subject within the field of international contemporary literature: literature published since 1965 from anywhere in the world. 
  • 4. The essay must be unpublished in any form, and must not have been accepted for publication elsewhere. If the work is accepted for publication elsewhere after submission to the prize, you must inform Wasafiri at your earliest convenience so it can be withdrawn from consideration.
  • 5. All entries must comply with our submissions criteria and style sheet. 

The writer  

  • 6. The prize is open to PhD candidates and early career researchers, ie entrants must be enrolled on a PhD or have been awarded their PhD no more than eight years before the closing date of the prize, which this year is 31 May 2023.  
  • 7. There are no restrictions on the entrant’s age, nationality, or location. 
  • 8. If successful, entrants should be prepared to license copyright to Wasafiri. 

The judges  

  • 10. The prize will be judged by Wasafiri’s editorial team and board.  
  • 11. Essays put forward for consideration will be anonymously peer reviewed. 
  • 12. The decision of the judges will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.